If you are considering buying a new home in town, it might have occurred to you that building your own could be another option. Even if you aren’t one who has always dreamed of designing your own new home with exactly the features you want (and none you don’t), the idea might seem worth exploring—particularly when the reasonable asking prices for some of today’s local “land-only” listings make for tempting daydreaming…
The fact is, few have actually mapped out the cost of building their own local new home, for a number of reasons. The most obvious one is that to project anything like an accurate cost, you would have to know its features—in other words, design it (or have it designed). But, short of hiring an architect, you can begin to appraise some of the major cost considerations that factor in when building a new home. A few:
- Once you have selected a local contractor, you will find yourself asking him for his estimate of today’s average price per square foot. That will only be useful for a ballpark estimate (certainly not for creating the final budget). It’s simply the case that the details will determine the final square footage cost average. Kitchens, for example, as well as bathrooms, are usually the most expensive rooms in the house, so if you have more bathrooms or a larger (or smaller) kitchen, your total cost will shift accordingly. There are other variables as well: it usually costs less to build a two-story home than a single-story one with the same square footage due to the smaller roof and foundation.
- Add-ons will add up, of course—but the amount can be surprising. While the difference between a standard tub in your future master bathroom and that $3,500 Jacuzzi tub may not seem significant compared with the overall budget, but it’s not unknown for installation details like extra wiring and plumbing requirements to add more than anticipated.
- If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of the phrase “cutting corners,” it may be illuminating to check out some of the software that contractors use to estimate costs. One of the first questions is “How many corners does this new home have?” The difference between a 4-cornered and 10-cornered home is like night and day. There are also categories of features that run from classes (quality levels) of “Standard Homes” to pricier classes of “Custom Homes.” In other words, at the design stage it is possible to “cut corners” when you build your own new home.
- Cutting corners or not, those with remodeling experience know how absolutely necessary it is to add a ‘cushion’ to any initial budget. The same goes for new construction. That cushion should be at least 10%–and 20% is often advised. Surprises pop up, and you will inevitably find yourself ordering last minute changes. It always seems to happen.
Buying a lot and building your own new area home can mean the fulfillment of a life-long dream—but one that’s most rewarding for those with the time and patience for such a major project. It’s also true that many of today’s best properties can be purchased for the same cost (or less) that such an undertaking would run. Contact me to go over today’s latest town offerings!